Close call highlights safe swimming message not getting through

Date posted: 11 January 2017

Swim between the flags and in conditions aligned with your ability is the message from Lake Macquarie City Council Professional Beach Lifeguards, following a near drowning at Hams Beach yesterday.

More than 20 drownings have occurred across NSW since Christmas Day and yesterday it looked like an incident at a Lake Macquarie beach was going to add to this already alarming statistic.

Council’s Beach Lifeguard Team Leader Paul Stone said that beachgoers are putting themselves at risk by not heeding advice from lifeguards, with more than 50 rescues already carried out by our professional lifeguards this season.

“A group of young tourists entered the water at Hams Beach, in an area that was not fit for swimming, and not only that, they were not competent swimmers. Thanks to the quick action of our lifeguards, all swimmers were brought to the shore for ambulance attention, and a critical patient transferred to hospital,” Mr Stone said.

The seriousness of the near miss yesterday shows just how quickly things can go wrong.

“Our guys and girls on the beach are there to keep you safe, but it’s also important that you take responsibility for your own safety and the safety of your friends by actively seeking out patrolled locations,” Mr Stone said.

Council’s Manager Leisure Services, Brad Sutton said while it is Council’s continuous improvement and drive for best practice in water safety that resulted in the best possible outcome yesterday, the message of personal responsibility isn’t getting through.

“Over recent years, we’ve undertaken a best practice review, implemented high priorities from the recommendations and continued first class execution of lifeguard services on our beaches to ensure that we are doing all we can to keep people out of trouble, yet people still continue to unnecessarily put themselves at risk.”

Council’s number one priority is the safety of all beachgoers and the introduction of a 7-day patrol service, as well as a lifeguard at Hams Beach demonstrates our commitment to the lifestyle and wellbeing of the Lake Macquarie community.

We urge our residents and visitors to our City to follow these tips to help stay safe this summer:

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Page last updated: 11 January 2017